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tv   Tavis Smiley  WHUT  September 7, 2009 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT

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ç♪ tavis: çgood evening. from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. tonight, we continue to look at new orleans after hurricane ççkatrina. tonight, our guest is terence blanchard. "a tale of god'sççó will," hisw album was featured in a movie by spike lee. tre is spoken-word commentary
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from prof. dr. cornelç west. this does was, once again, in tribute to the people of new orleans. çthat is coming up right now. >> there are so many things that wal-mart is looking forward to doing, like helping people to live better, but, mostly,çu! we looking forward to helping build strong communities and relationships, because with your help, the best is yet to come. >> nationwideçç insurance prae upwards tavis smiley. tavis and nationwide insurance, working for financial literacy and the apartment that comes ♪ -- the empowermentçç that cs with it. >> and brought to you by viewers like you. thank you.
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ççtavis: terrace blanchard isa grammy-winningç composer and artists. he has a new cd, "a tale of god's will," and in just a few minutes, we will be joinudçhpì(+ his band for a few songs. it is good to see you. in a good way, you are obviously obsessed with the town, katrina. whyçç for you this obsession? >> well, because new orleans has given me so much throughout my life. lre,ç there was traditional music, and then, i would go home and listen to people like miles davis. i could see that there was a music, and then, just in general, it is a warm place. the people are beautiful, and it
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is just a good place,çç so fo, i want to go back and do whatever i can to make a better place. tavis: i know how you do it, because i can hear. those feelings, those emotions into music? >> the first thing you have to do is trust yourself,ç and you have to be honest. one of the things that tell my students is that we always struggle between who you would be and who you really are, and have to kind of toss that first thing aside and just come to terms with who you are, and the more that you do that, the more things will start to reflect themselves in your music. for me, where i am right now, music as much more than notes and chords. ççit is about telling a storyu know? trying to convey emotions and attitudes. tavis: you said you have to be
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honest withçç yourself first. let me ask you to do that, to be honest with me about how you feel about katrina, about the politics surrounding it, whatever yourç feelings are abt your home town. tell me how you feel about it. >> i was highly upset. i was angry when it happened. i mean, to think that we were left in the ler!ç by our own government is something that i could never see happening. it just felt like we did not matter, ççand i felt like i cd not let that happen in my little corner of the world, so i tried to do whatever i could to scream to high heaven the injustices the reason why we did this other comet as it kind of chronicled some of the events that happened -- we did this other, çças it kind of chronid some of the events that happened.
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we did not take the responsibility to hold our leaders' feet to theç fre. i think that is the main thing that i learned in this process, to speak out and not sit on the sideline, and when you see injustice,çç say something abt it. tavis: you referenced "a tale of god's will," whichçç was featured in the film by spike lee. but why that title? >> welke, you know, in the midst of the aftermath of the hurricane,ç --ç well, you knoi went through a lot of different types of emotions, like a lot of people. anger, resentment, helplessness, hopelessness,çç and at the enf the day, you know, i grew up in a church, and the only thing i was left with is that god would never put anything on you that you cannot handle, so i hadçço sit down and reflect and think
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what the lessons are that we need to learn from this situation, and we were actually in the studio, recording the çopening tracks to that thing, and i had not come out with a title yet, and as the guys were playing, those words started to kind of reveal themselves in my mind, so içç could hear this chant, "this is not god's will." when the cd should be about, and what the whole experience of dealing with katrina should be çabout,ç for all of us. this is the opportunity to take all the things that we were upset with about new orleans, all of the things that we were angeredçç by, to do whatever we can to make them so much better that the city would not only be better but would be different. ççtavis: you and i have knownh other for years, so you know me. i am fascinated by the backstory. there are some astounding black
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ççartists that had been in the church. what was your story from the church, the journey, from the church to jazz artist? >> you know, it was funny. when iç was aç kid, i played n church every sunday. and then my father said, "look, man, you can play those gigs, but you have to be in church so my dad would be waking me up and saying to me, "i told you you had to be in charge." it was an interesting transition,ñiç because to me, w it as a natural thing -- you had to be in church." all of those things related to me< place emotionally, a burning desire to express oneself --ç place. it helped to develop my belief system. tavis: tell us what kind of church you grew up in.
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i know thereç areç some folkso are listening right now, and they are trying to put that in a black perspective. >>çç andrew young was a membef the church when he was in new orleans. so it was a congregation, and we played a lot of classical music, ççbut saturday night was whene -- tavis: in the pentecostal church, i could not go out on saturday night. ççthat is a whole different s. i am sorry, mom. speaking of my mom, tell me about yourç mom. >> i did not know that was going to happen. we are in the studio, doing "in sideman." z%ñç "inside man." spike said "we went to film your
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mom going into herç homeç." and i said, "that is ok." what was that going to entail, that was going to be a very private moment. she said, "i figu+edç that, bui thought people need to see what we are doing." and one of the things in my travels after that -- people around the world have been very supportive of myç mom,ç and i always get a lot of reactions to that part of the documentary. if you cry for my mother, you have to multiplied that by (qmbñ people, because that is the reaction that all of those people had coming back and seeing their homes destroyed, you know? that was the hard thing. it was really likeçç losing a family member, you know, to go into that home and have no pictures, no clothing, new furniture, no nothing, and when i brought my momç out to l.a. -
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i will tell you a funny story. i could not find my mom for two weeks after the hurricane, and i woumt beç calling her cell pho, and when i finally got her, i said, "it has been two weeks." çit was in my purse. tavis: she had survived the worst stormç ever, and she was talking about the purse. >> toiletries, like plates, cups, bathroom stuff,ç bedding. it was like she was a college student. because she did not have it, and we had to start over, and it was rough. thatç isç another reason why m very passionate about my city. people still wanted to go home, even after all of that. the guy renovating her home, he toldç me, he was in most of the
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homes in the neighborhood, and most of those folks where elderly folks, and he said that since the area was gutted, they could make a lotç of provisions and make the home is better, and he said that 90 percent of the people said, "just make an like it was." tavis: ççwe will come back toe project and then get to what you guys are doing, because we want to hear it. ççi am always curious. i always lean in a real close. you know where i am going with this. i lean in a real close, because i want to see how that trumpet hasçç made your lips change. you cannot see this, but i can see that trumpet, how right on the top of your lips, it has made your lipç change. isc it on other people's -- i have seen it on other people's lips.
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ççwhat is it like to love plag an instrument so much that it changes your lips? >> you feel that you are expressing yourself. ççit goes away. you are not even aware of it, and i am only aware of it when people make me aware of it. it is that we do.s part of what it is like boxing. tavis: that is the same thing. i was not saying it to cast aspersions. ççyou have to really like it o allow it to shape you in the strange ways that you shake it. speaking of shaping, the difference betweençç "choicesd "a tale" are what? >> ;u$e choicsç i have made asa father, and husbands, the choices that we made as a community. -- a husband, the choices we made as a community.
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ççwe did not hold our leader'' feet to the fire, some of the choices we made to not be involved, andç we suffered the consequences. the same thing with the country, this fiscal issue that we have, the health-care issue, all of those things, so içç just wano raise some debate about these things. the other thing is that we have made some great choices in the aftermath of katrina. new orleans is going to be one of the mostçç green cities ine country. the institute of jazz moved to new orleans. kirby hancock. they are building aç new performance building -- kirby hancock. -- herbie hancock. çi had the distinct pleasure ad the honor of enlisting the help of your best friend. tavis: dr. west. ç>> dr. west, to give us a
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spoken-word performance. we talked to walk him about one hour, and what you hear on the tpjdç are excerpts of that conversation. t commentary -- tavis: commentary. çça different process? >> i think it is very similar to film, and i think my experience in the film helped me in terms what i had to do is listen to the conversation over and over and try to figure out which statements and whichç segments would be best reflect what was happening on certain tunes, and even when i started to cut them in, i hadç toç space them outd find the right areas for them to operate in, but i did not have to do much. because,?x"r. west, he is amazing. tavis: you will have a chance
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to hear in just a second about what terence is talking aboutç. they will do two songs for us. if you go to our website at p bs.org/tavis, this guy scoredç many films. we will ask terence about this, and we will talk about thatçç on the website. good to see you. a couple of songs from the terence blanchard group. stay with us. ççfrom the new cd "choices," e is terrence blanchard, ççwho played the title track to the cd and another song. --enjoy.
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♪çç >> ♪ there is something about humanity. how do we prepare for death? a creature born between urine and feces ççthat is the space and time r each and everyone of us and it comes down to what? ççchoice. what kind of human being you are going to be how are you going to opt for a life of decencyçç
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ççdo you see what i mean? that is the human choice that is the human choice ç♪
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>> so what do weçç have proofu reap what you sow. it will come out in the wash. and the wonderful history about black folks is that anytime we emerge, like frederick douglass he did not call for the slavery of others. he called for the freedom of everybody. always accepting. ççwe do not opt for a black al qaeda or a terrorist organization. we want liberty for everybody.
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as martinçç king said. in the age of obama, what do we what? in the face of fear and the seven strategy used to scapegoat the week, what do we want? çç-- fear and the strategy usd :katrina?oat the weak? the killing fields. black bodies. ♪
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tavis: for more information on this show, please visitçç pbs.
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smokey robinson next time. we will see you then. smokey robinson next time. tht wal-mart is looking forward to doing, like helping people to live better, but mostly, we are looking forward to building strong communities and relationshipsçç because with r help, the best is yet to come. >> nationwide insurance probably supports tavis smiley. tavis and nationwide insurance, literacy and the economic empowerment that comes with it. >> ♪ nationwide is on your side ♪ çç>> and by contributions by viewers like you. thank you. ç♪
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